Concert Sutra Reunites for Echo and the Bunnymen
by terri sapp
Photographs by Leah Yetter and terri sapp
© Concert Sutra, All Rights Reserved
On May 5, 2011, the girls of Concert Sutra came together again at the Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgiato FINALLY catch those English blokes who call themselves Echo and the Bunnymen, having waited for them to come back to Atlantaafter cancelling on us in 2009. After the let down of missing them then, we were overjoyed when we showed up this year at the Masquerade and saw the tour busses and a packed house with almost no teenagers! Echo’s lineup on this 2011 tour included Ian McCullough (the sassiest lead singer in all of the UK), Will Sergeant (bad ass guitar), Gordy Goudie (guitar with the coolest name), Stephen Brannan (unbelievable bass), Paul Fleming (old school keyboards), and Nick Kilroe (to die for drums). The show primarily consisted of the band’s first two studio album releases, Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here, along with some extra gems during the encores. Before Echo and the Bunnymen even showed their faces, they pumped out enough fog to throw a Halloween party in Times Square! The only downside to that, other than the difficulty breathing, was that when they made it to the stage, you could hardly see their faces for all of the fog! AND, don’t get me started about the lighting at the Masquerade!! Trying to get a decent photograph of these guys in this venue (even with Leah’s brand new addition to the Concert Sutra family, the fabulous new Canon 60D) was like me struggling to capture Bauhaus in the purposeful darkness of the Tabernacle with any camera! Needless to say, during the first part of the show, while the band was jamming out “Going Up” and “Stars Are Stars,” poor Leah was busy shooting silhouettes! She was hungry for some rich and vibrant photos since it was our first time together at a show in a very long time, so she didn’t give up that easily. Be sure to check out Leah’s photo gallery at http://www.concertsutra.com/110505csechobunnymen/index.htm, because we worked very hard for every single shot in there! This was no cake walk! I was able to catch a little video on my little Canon Elph while we were up front shooting, which can be found on the Concert Sutra You Tube channel, or by clicking here Echo and the Bunnymen on the Concert Sutra You Tube channel. Please check it out and feel free to comment and let us know what you think! We have started trying to get some amateur video clips that we would like to feature here on the site, so we want to hear from you and get some feedback!
One of my favorite vocalists, Ian McCullough’s voice was everything I imagined it would be. “Pride” and “Monkeys” was clear evidence that he might be older, and sings with a cigarette in his fingers, but (like another favorite of mine – Joni Mitchell) his voice is not affected in a negative way! Nick Kilroe on the drums and Will Sergeant’s guitar work were rocking the entire place, especially apparent to me in “Monkeys” and “Crocodiles.” Makes me want to go to the zoo! J The band was literally killing it! I also really liked the guitar player, Gordy Goudie, who proved an easier target for my camera. His presence was huge on the stage with his band mates. I have always liked the song “Rescue” a lot, and love it even more now from hearing it in its real live environment! I am forever impressed when bands can stand up to or surpass their studio produced recordings during a live performance. I know what it takes to put on a great show, and there is nothing easy about it! Your audience will always be comparing what they hear live to the album they have been listening to for the last 30 years or whatever. There are a hand full of bands out there with the raw talent enough to pull it off, and after seeing Echo and the Bunnymen for the first time live; I can confidently add their name to that list. Listening to “Rescue,” I felt I was jamming out to my iPod, but really loud! Ian’s vocals are really either not affected by the constant smoking, or enhanced by it! I still absolutely love his voice.
“Villiers Terrace,” “Read it in Books,” and “Pictures On My Wall” really highlighted the keyboard work by Paul Fleming. I love the Doors-esque feel of the sound. Then, the drums of “All That Jazz” took over. Kilroe really kicked it up a notch on this one. The last song on the Crocodiles album is “Happy Death Men.” And, then it all made sense! “Happy death men, no regret men, happy death men, like to keep things dark!” They LIKE things dark! What a great way to end that portion of the set. I love the way Ian says “Thank you” after every song, and then sometimes goes on a rant about something that is on his mind, or a tidbit about the next song. I have to say that I really understood the curse words the most during those parts of the show, which is fine with me!
Instead of taking a break, Echo went straight into the first song on their second studio album, Heaven Up Here, called “Show of Strength” and that is exactly what these guys were doing! They may be many years older than they were when they originally released these albums, but they are just as tight as performers as back in the 80’s. “With a Hip” “is the one for the money…This is the one for the trees…This is the one called heaven…And this is the one for me!” “Oh yes, oh yes!” And, cheers to you, too, Ian! You sang the dickens out of that song! “Over The Wall” slows it down a bit, but really, they just kept on rocking! Even their slower songs rock! My high hopes for this show were met and exceeded! Being my fiancé Noel’s favorite band, I knew they would have to blow the roof off, and mid way through the show, I found myself wondering why the hell we were in the Masquerade, and not somewhere bigger and better, like Center Stage, or even the Fox! The crowd could have really equally spread their wings in another venue, I think. Everyone had a great time at the show, because the band commanded the stage that they were playing, but the Masquerade is not the ideal place for such icons as Echo and the Bunnymen.
“It Was A Pleasure” running into so many friends and familiar faces at this show. Cheryl Carroll (writer extraordinaire) and Zod (from the bandVietnam) were in the house, as well as Jeff Clark (from Stomp and Stammer), and I even ran into Tom Roche (a local filmmaker who made my very favorite MAGA documentary “Alley Pat, The Music Is Recorded” that I met at the Macon Film Festival)! The house was packed full of wonderful energy and (I’ll say it again) NO TEENAGERS for a change! I love “A Promise” that is kept, and Echo lived up to theirs! Everyone was singing along to this beautiful tune that was one of the singles released from this album back in 1981! Title track “Heaven Up Here” is what Ian called “a fast one” and I’d say it could almost fall in the metal category if it wasn’t so pretty. Heavy guitar and drums, bass booming and vocals out loud…the makings of a real crowd pleaser.
Slowing things down a bit, “The Disease” is anything but diseased. I love the thought process of Echo’s song length…quick and dirty! One of my favorites “All My Colours” really slows it down for a few, and then swells into beauty! Ian’s vocals on the chorus were mesmerizing, and the drums a bit tribal, adding to my need to sway and bob! I am not sure what a “zimbo” is, but I love that “all my colours turn to clouds!” And then I’m confused, because “No Dark Things” goes against the way things are looking inside of the Masquerade! I am just a little bitter about the difficulty the lighting gave our cameras on our first outing together since Leah moved to Wyoming. “Turquoise Days” has a distinctive beat that is kind of slow and kind of fast at the same time. I love dancing to this song. “You’ve got a problem, come on over!” And, for the grand finale of Heaven Up Here, one of my favorites, “All I Want.” How anyone could be still during this song, I wouldn’t know. “All I Want” showcased the musicianship of this band of guys, and the awesome abilities of the original lineup that composed the music! ROCK-N-ROLL!!!!
Once the band came back for the Encore, everyone went crazy when they started playing “Lips Like Sugar!” One of their biggest hits, I was surprised they played it first in the encore, but there was truly an echo with everyone singing along. Echo and the Bunnymen are a class act with talent oozing from their every breath. Toward the middle, they even got us all clapping before they broke it down concert style! Saved especially for the encore (usually the second song on the album Crocodiles), “Do It Clean” is grouped with the songs that seem to be their most popular. “Do It Clean” also got audience participation, and is the title track from the live album that Echo released after their tour concluded. Ian even told a story in the middle of the song while the bass was still going. His story included calling someone a twat, which is the part I could make out. J I LOVE British Rockers!
For the ladies, Echo was sure to play “Bring On The Dancing Horses!” followed by “Nothing Lasts Forever.” These are two of the prettiest Echo songs ever! Even Noel sang along to some of “Dancing Horses”…the “hating all the faking” part, at least! To this point, Echo had played a special “live” version of all of the encore songs! It made it so worth the trouble of going out to the Masquerade during the week to see and hear this magic! After the end of “Bring On The Dancing Horses,” Ian informed us that the next song, “Nothing Lasts Forever” would be the last song of THIS encore, and that if we wanted another, we’d have to clap! The accent always makes me smile! I also agreed with Ian when he stated that this one is among the greatest songs of all time! “Nothing comes to those who wait. Time’s running out before you’re running in. I want more than I can get, just trying to trying to trying to forget. Nothing ever lasts forever nothing ever lasts forever!” Words to live by, I say! The melody is genius! Being my first time seeing Echo live, I had never seen, only heard rumor that this might happen, but sure enough, Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk On The Wide Side” came smack dab in the middle of “Nothing Lasts Forever!” What a beautiful combination!
Clapping you want? Clapping you got! The second encore…that’s right…second encore…began with “Killing Moon!” I was hoping to hear “Ocean Rain,” but “Killing Moon” from the same album did me just fine! Used in the cult classic movie Donnie Darko, “Killing Moon” is another very popular Echo song, and is highly recognizable. The whole place sang along with this one as well! Who says that older folk can’t hang with the big dogs??? These guys played breathtakingly all night until almost 1:00 a.m. They went out with a bang on “The Cutter!” A grand finale with all singing along still! They left us wanting more! What a dynamic song, which in my opinion kills every U2 song I’ve ever heard! I say that as a fan of U2, because the style of “The Cutter” is similar to their style, but so much more. I guess I am just partial to Ian’s voice and Will’s guitar! If Echo and the Bunnymen ever come around where you can see them, please do yourself a favor and catch that show!
For more information on the band, and to keep up with their tour schedule, visit http://www.bunnymen.com/.